"The lads 'ull be fine an' hungry," she said, half-aloud, as she stirred the porridge.
"It's a good step to Brox'on, an' it's hungry air o'er the hill--wi' that heavy coffin
too. Eh! It's heavier now, wi' poor Bob Tholer in't. Howiver, I've made a drap
more porridge nor common this mornin'. The feyther 'ull happen come in arter a
bit. Not as he'll ate much porridge. He swallers sixpenn'orth o' ale, an' saves a
hap'orth o' por-ridge--that's his way o' layin' by money, as I've told him many a
time, an' am likely to tell him again afore the day's out. Eh, poor mon, he takes it
quiet enough; there's no denyin' that."
But now Lisbeth heard the heavy "thud" of a running footstep on the turf, and,
turning quickly towards the door, she saw Adam enter, looking so pale and
overwhelmed that she screamed aloud and rushed towards him before he had
time to speak.
"Hush, Mother," Adam said, rather hoarsely, "don't be frightened. Father's
tumbled into the water. Belike we may bring him round again. Seth and me are
going to carry him in. Get a blanket and make it hot as the fire."
In reality Adam was convinced that his father was dead but he knew there was
no other way of repressing his mother's impetuous wailing grief than by
occupying her with some active task which had hope in it.
He ran back to Seth, and the two sons lifted the sad burden in heart-stricken
silence. The wide-open glazed eyes were grey, like Seth's, and had once looked
with mild pride on the boys before whom Thias had lived to hang his head in
shame. Seth's chief feeling was awe and distress at this sudden snatching away
of his father's soul; but Adam's mind rushed back over the past in a flood of
relenting and pity. When death, the great Reconciler, has come, it is never our
tenderness that we repent of, but our severity.